COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 4 Ohio State women’s tennis team (7-1, 0-0 B1G) will face two Big Ten opponents in Columbus this weekend. The Buckeyes square off against No. 10 Michigan (6-1, 0-0 B1G) at 3 p.m. Friday, before taking on Penn State (3-3, 0-0 B1G) at noon Sunday inside the Varsity Tennis Center (880 West Henderson Road).
Admission is free. Live video and scoring are available for all Buckeye home matches inside the VTC HERE.
In the Rankings
In the ITA Rankings released this week, Ohio State moved up from seventh to fourth, breaking the Top Five for the first time this season. Other ranked Big Ten teams include No. 10 Michigan and No. 23 Northwestern.
In the second Oracle/ITA individual rankings of 2017, sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo was ranked first. Junior Anna Sanford checked in at No. 55, senior Gabriella De Santis, previously unranked, was at No. 68, senior Miho Kowase at No. 84 and junior Olivia Sneed at No. 111.
Last Time Out – ITA National Indoors
The Buckeyes made a run to the ITA National Team Indoor semifinals last weekend in New Haven, Conn. Ohio State, which earned their spot with two wins on ITA Kick-Off Weekend, was making its third appearance in the tournament. Last year, the squad also made it to the semifinals.
The No. 7 ranked No. 6 seed Ohio State topped No. 14 Auburn 4-1 to start the weekend. The Buckeyes claimed the doubles point with wins on courts two and three. No. 1 Francesca Di Lorenzo beat a Top 30 ranked opponent on court one to put the Buckeyes up 2-0. The Tigers posted a win on court three but Anna Sanford and Sandy Niehaus claimed straight set victories on courts two and four respectively to clinch the win for Ohio State.
In the quarterfinals, the Buckeyes upset No. 5 ranked and No. 3 seed Oklahoma State, 4-3, the team that eliminated them from the NCAA Tournament in 2016. Ohio State dropped the doubles point and the first singles match going down 2-0. Di Lorenzo, Gabriella De Santis and Ferny Angeles Paz posted the next three singles wins to give the Scarlet and Gray the 3-2 advantage over the Cowgirls. The match came down to Miho Kowase who rallied after dropping the first set to knock off Oklahoma State and advance the Buckeyes to the semifinals.
The Buckeyes fell 4-3 to No. 2 ranked and No. 2 seed UNC in the semifinals. Ohio State dropped the doubles point going down 1-0 into singles. The Tar Heels also claimed the first singles match but Kowase and Niehaus answered to tie the match at two. UNC pulled ahead after a win on court two but Angeles Paz tied it at three after a three set victory on court six. The match came down to court one between two Top 5 ranked players. Di Lorenzo dropped the first set and won the second but UNC claimed the third to secure their team’s victory.
The match between the Buckeyes and Wolverines is a nonconference match, as the teams are not scheduled for a Big Ten match in 2017.
The No. 10 Wolverines (6-1, 0-0 B1G) lone lose this season was to No. 1 Florida in the ITA National Team Indoors last weekend. The squad has topped four ranked opponents this season, No. 23 Mississippi State, No. 18 Texas, No. 9 Vanderbilt and No. 15 Texas A&M. Michigan has three ranked singles players and two ranked doubles tandems. Sophomore Kate Fahey checks in at No. 26, sophomore Brienne Minor at No. 27 and junior Alex Najarian at No. 64. The duo of Fahey and Najarian is slated at No. 3, while Minor and junior Mira Ruder-Hook are No. 40.
Ohio State is 15-42 all-time against Michigan. The teams squared off twice last year. Jan. 31 in Ann Arbor the Buckeyes defeated the Wolverines 4-2 in a nonconference match. The teams then met in the Big Ten Tournament championship match in East Lansing, a 4-2 win by the Scarlet and Gray for their first conference tournament title.
A Look at the Nittany Lions
Penn State is 3-3 this season. The Nittany Lions gained their victories against Navy, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The squad welcomed two freshmen to the squad and returns 10 players.
The Buckeyes are 30-17 all-time vs. the Nittany Lions. Ohio State defeated Penn State 7-0 Feb. 25, 2016 on the road last season.
Senior Ferny Angeles Paz and sophomore Francesca Di Lorenzo lead the Buckeyes with 15 singles wins on the year and Angeles Paz leads the team with seven dual match victories. Senior Miho Kowase is second with 14 victories on the year. Kowase and senior Sandy Niehaus are second in dual match victories with six wins each this spring.
In doubles, Niehaus and Kowase lead the team with 10 wins each, while Angeles Paz has eight and junior Anna Sanford has seven. The senior tandem of Gabriella De Santis and Niehaus has a team-best six victories overall, while the pair of Kowase and Di Lorenzo leads the team with five dual match victories.
The Buckeyes are undefeated on courts five and six, with a 7-0 mark on each. The squad is 7-1 on court four, 5-1 on one, 4-2 on three and 3-3 on two. In doubles, court two is 6-1, court three is 4-3 and court one is 3-3.
The Buckeyes will continue their homestand, hosting No. 21 Miami at noon Feb. 25 and Baylor at noon Feb. 26.
— Ohio State W Tennis (@OhioState_WTEN) February 16, 2017